Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Drug may help overwrite bad memories

Date:
May 27, 2011
Source:
University of Montreal
Summary:
Recalling painful memories while under the influence of the drug metyrapone reduces the brain's ability to re-record the negative emotions associated with them.

New research shows that recalling painful memories while under the influence of the drug metyrapone reduces the brain's ability to re-record the negative emotions associated with them.
Credit: Mark Carrel / Fotolia

Recalling painful memories while under the influence of the drug metyrapone reduces the brain's ability to re-record the negative emotions associated with them, according to University of Montreal researchers at the Centre for Studies on Human Stress of Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital. The team's study challenges the theory that memories cannot be modified once they are stored in the brain.

"Metyrapone is a drug that significantly decreases the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that is involved in memory recall," explained lead author Marie-France Marin. Manipulating cortisol close to the time of forming new memories can decrease the negative emotions that may be associated with them. "The results show that when we decrease stress hormone levels at the time of recall of a negative event, we can impair the memory for this negative event with a long-lasting effect," said Dr. Sonia Lupien, who directed the research.

Thirty-three men participated in the study, which involved learning a story composed of neutral and negative events. Three days later, they were divided into three groups -- participants in the first group received a single dose of metyrapone, the second received double, while the third were given placebo. They were then asked to remember the story. Their memory performance was then evaluated again four days later, once the drug had cleared out.. "We found that the men in the group who received two doses of metyrapone were impaired when retrieving the negative events of the story, while they showed no impairment recalling the neutral parts of the story," Marin explained. "We were surprised that the decreased memory of negative information was still present once cortisol levels had returned to normal."

The research offers hope to people suffering from syndromes such as post-traumatic stress disorder. "Our findings may help people deal with traumatic events by offering them the opportunity to 'write-over' the emotional part of their memories during therapy," Marin said. One major hurdle, however, is the fact that metyrapone is no longer commercially produced. Nevertheless, the findings are very promising in terms of future clinical treatments. "Other drugs also decrease cortisol levels, and further studies with these compounds will enable us to gain a better understanding of the brain mechanisms involved in the modulation of negative memories."

The research is published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Montreal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M.-F. Marin, A. Hupbach, F. S. Maheu, K. Nader, S. J. Lupien. Metyrapone Administration Reduces the Strength of an Emotional Memory Trace in a Long-Lasting Manner. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2011; DOI: 10.1210/jc.2011-0226

Cite This Page:

University of Montreal. "Drug may help overwrite bad memories." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110526064802.htm>.
University of Montreal. (2011, May 27). Drug may help overwrite bad memories. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110526064802.htm
University of Montreal. "Drug may help overwrite bad memories." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110526064802.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins